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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

What’s Hot and What’s Not in Promotional Products

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How can you tell what’s hot in your world of promotional materials?  We’ve talked about targeting your audience and choosing your promotional items to reflect your image, both in quality and market.  But what are recipients really looking for, and how do you make that work for your business? 

A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute called “Defining the Disconnect,” showed that there are discrepancies between consumer attitudes toward promotional items and what marketers are actually giving away.  For example, according to the study, brand names don’t matter as much as marketers think in promotional items.  Just over 32 percent of consumers said the brand name on a promotional item was important.  Meanwhile, over 70 percent of marketers thought it was important.  The study found that prestige brands command a higher quality promotional item.  That is, if consumers get an item from BMW, they expect higher quality.  This does link back to our recommendation that a high-quality item can enhance your brand image.  Finally, promotional products are great incentives.  The study showed that 82 percent of consumers will take surveys to get an item, 70 percent would stop by a trade show booth, and 40 percent would respond to a company on a social networking site in order to get an incentive item. 

So what’s the hot promotional item in your industry?  Here are a few we thought were unique and thought-provoking.  The banking and financial industry can count on flip calculators or coin purse key chains.  The construction industry builds business using a forklift stress buster, a level key chain or a metal tape measure.   That tape measure also sells it for realtors, as do house-shaped credit card mints.  Dentists are smiling with full-color floss, personalized toothbrush and toothpaste, or a full-color bag.  Schools and universities learn to promote themselves with backpacks, hand sanitizer and bus-shaped stress toys.  Contact your custom sign developer today to check what they think is hot in the market now.


LED Lobby Displays Are Bold, Bright and Burden-free

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

One of the hottest trends in indoor lobby signage is LED displays, or light emitting diode displays.  These signs are great both from a technology standpoint and an aesthetic standpoint.  The technology itself allows the brightest, sharpest possible picture quality, because the display is made up of hundreds of individual lights.  The result is a bright, welcoming sign in any location, but especially in lobbies.  When customers or visitors enter the building, they will notice a custom-made LED sign.  No matter what the content -- great advertisements, beautiful pictures or clear information – the image quality is unsurpassed.  As an information kiosk, an LED sign can run an information loop or it can allow an intuitive touch-screen for people to find their own information.  This approach takes the burden off of staff members, and may even eliminate the need for personnel in the lobby.  In addition, if the lobby is a waiting area, an effective LED sign can keep visitors occupied with either status updates or entertaining slide shows and video.  

LED signs are also energy efficient.  According to a report on high definition displays in PC Magazine, LED displays measuring less than 55 inches consume 80 watts or less power, compared to plasma displays that use almost three times as much energy as an LED display.  The energy savings comes from the thin display cabinet and the LED technology itself.  Even though the initial investment in an LED display may be high, it will pay for itself in a relatively short period of time, with increased traffic generation, high-tech brand imaging and energy efficiency.

Build Your Company’s Character From Wood

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Custom-carved signs are a solid representation of a company’s image.  If you are a small or medium-sized business that is looking for a classic, updated look to your custom business signs, consider wood.  It is durable and natural-looking, and it gives the perception of strength.  However, if you choose wood, be sure your plans include maintenance.  More common woods like redwood or cedar can be used for signage, but for outdoor signs, this wood tends to get weathered quickly, and show peeling paint.  

One of the more recent advances in wood signage that overcomes some of these challenges is high density urethane, or HDU.  This material is more stable and weather-resistant than natural wood, is lighter weight for easier moving, and it doesn’t peel or blister.  Made from a combination of closed-cell foam and recycled material, HDU resists moisture, rot and insects.  HDU can be sculpted or painted, and can handle copper or gold leaf gilding.  It can be hand-carved to showcase three-dimensional lettering, logos or designs by your custom sign maker.  

HDU can also be used for two-sided hand-carved signs.  Each side is fastened to a center board of marine grade plywood, giving the final product a thickness of 2 ¾ inches or thicker – stable and strong against wind, rain, or physical contact.  Custom designed wood signs last much longer than vinyl or digitally printed signs, and they can be personalized to your needs.  We think they’re well worth the investment, and we’ve been successful with creating many different looks.  Click this link to see some of them and get ideas for your own wood sign.  

Don’t Make This Top List

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When you create your sign, you typically proofread it and check for typos or misspellings.  You also probably test out your tag lines on others or read them over to be sure they make sense and do not have double meanings or the potential to be misconstrued as something else.  If you don’t do this, your professional sign manufacturer should be doing it.  That’s part of what you pay them to do.  

But there are always those funny or odd signs that are obviously not proofread or reviewed until it’s too late.  Of course, Maryland sign makers would never do such a thing, and you would never see these signs in the Baltimore area.  They are from around the world and they will make you chuckle.  Try not to get your sign on this list!

funny signs - misspellings

Other examples include:

Outside the pawn shop:  “Don’t Let Money Worries Kill You…Let the Pawn Shop Help!

In a neighborhood with children:  “Children, Please Drive With Care.”

On a sign outside an elementary school:  “Rember to Read a Book.”  

In a diner window:  “Coffee Cheaper than Gas.. Drink, don’t Drive”

On a bin of vegetables at a farm market:  “Please ask for assistants.”

On a road sign:  “Do Not Pass When Opposing Traffic is Present”

Outside a retailer:  “One Day Sale – Friday and Saturday”

In a restaurant window:  “Senior Citizens, Buy 1 Get 1 FREE”

Property sign:  “No Trespassing.  Private Property.  Authorized Personal Only”

See the Writing on the Wall

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If you’re looking for an economical way to create an impactful sign or design, look no further than the writing on the wall.  Your wall, that is.  Using wall covering media for signage is a great way to utilize a large wall space, as well as save on signage materials.  Your wall can feature lettering for slogans, logos, banners or even murals that communicate your message in giant, living color.  

We’ve been using a new wall covering by DreamScape called Terralon, as have many sign companies in Baltimore.  It’s specifically formulated for digital printing, and not only does it perform well, it’s earth-friendly too.  Terralon can handle regular solvent, eco solvent and UV curable inks.  Its polyester fiber technology contains more than 30 percent recycled material, but it looks like a regular commercial grade wall covering.  It can be installed using standard pastes and primers, and the lightly embossed textured surface allows for excellent images.  It comes in a variety of textures, including silk, suede, canvas, cashmere and plaster.

Terralon is functional and sustainable, with a PVC-free formula, a recyclable product and a low VOP emission. By using the product, companies can earn U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credit points for new buildings or remodels.  When you’re finished with your Terralon wall covering, it can be returned to DreamScape for recycling.  Ask your custom sign company for a sample of Terralon and see how you can use it to create signage for your business in the Baltimore area.

Wrap It Up In a Bright Package – New Car Wraps

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

If you’re craving that cherry red or racing blue car instead of your conservative gray or taupe vehicle but can’t quite bring yourself to change your permanent paint color, wrap it up!  Visit your Maryland professional sign company to explore a full vehicle wrap.  These wraps not only look great, they are cost-effective and time sensitive, compared to a new paint job on your car.  Or, if you want to turn your vehicle into a traveling billboard sign complete with your logo, make sure the car color matches the logo colors with a complete wrap in a color of your choice.

The wrap will maintain your car’s original paint and shield it from dings – from stones flying up from the road to careless people flinging their doors open into your car.  If there is damage done to your car while wrapped, or if you have an accident, the chances of being able to wrap the new section in the same color wrap are better and more economical than matching the original paint color.  And, a vinyl wrap can preserve the original paint, increasing the resale value of your car.  

If you really want to be trendy, put on your sunglasses and admire the latest chrome auto wraps in silver, gold, copper and other colors.  They’re actually vinyl wraps like those you would use to change your car’s color, with a chrome finish.  Like traditional wraps, they protect your car’s paint, while giving you that bright, shiny look of chrome.  A chrome wrap will keep your car cooler, because it reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them. 

Your professional sign company can install wraps quickly and easily.  While this could be a do-it-yourself project, the attention to detail is so important that it’s worth getting a professional.  First, the car’s surface needs to be prepared properly.  All blemishes and uneven surfaces need to be removed before applying the wrap.  Properly prepared surfaces will allow the wrap to stretch and adhere more smoothly and last longer.  Although stretch vinyl and chrome film can be positioned and repositioned without leaving a permanent “memory,” your professional installer can get it right the first time.  In addition, they can recommend the right design if you want printing or painting.  

So, wrap up the latest trend – a bright, shiny vehicle protected against the wear and tear of the road!

Promote Your Image with Promotional Materials

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Your company has an image – a “face” that it shows to the public.  It’s a way of doing business, and a perception of your business.  It starts with your company name and extends to everything you do.  It’s a first impression and a lasting impression.  If you’ve branded your company, you’ve taken steps to strengthen that image.  Promotional materials from a reliable Maryland sign company can help you in two distinct ways.

First, promotional materials can increase awareness of your company’s name to a broad audience.  They do what they say they will – promote your company.  Give away pens or bags or notepads emblazoned with your logo at sales events or at Maryland trade show displays, and your name is seen by thousands of people.  The item you choose becomes a mini billboard for your company, as well as a reminder of your company every time the item gets used.

Second, promotional materials can and should enhance your company’s image.  You may just want a far-reaching, inexpensive item to get your name out in the Baltimore area, but be careful in your choice of items. The quality of the item counts.  If it falls apart after one day or fails to work, that’s a reflection on your company.  Choose high-quality items that make a statement on their own.  Add your logo, and that quality statement transfers to your company image.  

Additionally, keep in mind that your choice of a promotional item itself communicates something about your image.  If you want people to think of your company as fun-loving or carefree, don’t select a traditional gray pen that you’d find in a bank.  Try a colorful or unusual item that communicates that image – like a bright visor or a pen with an unexpected design.  Your professional sign company can give you hundreds of ideas and advice to help you promote your image through promotional materials.

Promotional Personality

Thursday, August 30, 2012

eco-friendly grocery tote with company logoWhat’s your promotional personality? That is, what are your promotional items saying about your company? Promotional items are a great way to market not only your company’s name, but also its image. If you choose an item that relates to your key message, it makes the message that much stronger. So, for example, a reusable grocery tote says you are eco-friendly, helpful and practical. A reusable aluminum water bottle also says eco-friendly and “green.”  

If you choose items that are out-of-the-ordinary, it sends the message that your company is innovative and creative. Products like mint tins, mouse pads or sunglasses are all a little less boring than the traditional pen or refrigerator magnet. Unless you are a writer or an information company, try to be a bit more original. Consider your target audience and what they will use. If you’re a summertime or vacation-related business, select an appropriate item like sunglasses, visors or even flip-flops that leave an imprint of your logo in the sand!

Most importantly, choose quality promotional products. If the product looks or feels cheap, it will cheapen your company image. That doesn’t mean it can’t be inexpensive. Ask for samples of items before selecting, and determine the quality and longevity. While a promotional item isn’t meant to last forever, it is meant to be used and taken to high-visibility locations so people can see the logo. It should be sturdy enough to withstand this transportation. 

Promotional products come from all types of vendors. Maryland sign companies like BWS can provide high-quality promotional items and you can be sure the printing will be outstanding. The printing on the item should be positioned properly, have enough space for the message to be readable and be durable. Your custom sign manufacturer can also create your Maryland trade show displays, giving your company a unified, professional personality.    

“Connect” With High-Tech Promotional Items

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

With Fall trade show season and corporate meeting season approaching, the promotional item business will be heating up.  There’s still plenty of time to select a great item that reflects your company’s image along with your Maryland trade show display signage and keeps your name in front of thousands of prospects.  While pens, bags and Frisbees are all great handouts, consider the message you want to send.  

USB Flash Drive can be imprinted with company logoTechnology-related promotional items are becoming more affordable to use as promotional give-aways, and they certainly fit the lifestyle of most consumers.  Even if you are not a high-tech company, you can give items that “connect” you to your customers and keep them “connected.”  You can print a message like, “Stay connected with XYZ Company” on these items, or simply print your logo and have the implied message of connection through the item itself.  If you’re still scratching your head wondering how high-tech devices can become messengers for you, consider the following ideas that can be ordered and printed through your Maryland sign company:

  • USB flash drives – everyone uses them, they are small and inexpensive.  Many can be pre-loaded with information on your company.  Others can be personalized with printing or labeling.
  • Touch-screen Stylus and gel pens – this is a high-tech twist on a pen; it can be used with electronic devices or good, old fashioned paper.
  • Phone holders or chargers – these can be logo’d easily and are small, light-weight and a great accessory.
  • Computer screen brushes or keyboard brushes – simple, yet useful; while not a technology item itself, it’s connected to technology and shows that you’re connected.
  • Retractable Ethernet cords – printable and portable, these are great for travelers and also send the “connection” message.

If Blue Water Signs can help your company stay in the minds of potential clients with the help of any of these technology-related promotional products, please contact us today or visit our online promotional products store.

Sign Design

Friday, August 24, 2012

Whether you’re looking for signage for Maryland trade show displays, Maryland boat wraps or any type of custom signs in Maryland, keep in mind the importance of design. It’s easy to think that you can design your own sign. Come up with the message, choose a font, a color and a signage type, and you’re set to go, right? Who needs a designer?

You do! Professional graphics designers are important in the process of creating your signage. Your signs are part of your overall company image. They are prominently displayed and give your business a personality. If you’re signs aren’t doing this, they should be – that’s where graphic design comes into play. The placement of your logo, the complimentary colors, and even the type of ink used on your sign can all make a difference.

Professional graphics designers are trained to make sure your signs have the highest possible impact.  When selecting a sign company, ask about graphic design. The designer should meet with you and help you to create or reinforce your brand through your signs. If you don’t have a logo, the designer can create one. If you already have one, the designer should be able to recommend the best types of signage that will translate your logo effectively.  For example, some logos would not translate well to a 3-D sign or a channel letter sign, but might be better suited for an etched sign. The graphics designer will make clear suggestions for you to consider. He or she will also follow the signage creation process through to the finish, making sure the images are sharp and clean, that the printing is done properly and the design balanced.   

Make sign design a priority. Make sure your sign company offers this service…when people respond to your sign, you’ll be glad you did!

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